As the weather outside gets frightful (or at least the lines at the mall…), the Holiday Songs chart makes its annual return to Billboard.com.
Like the Billboard Hot 100, but solely for yuletide tracks (of all eras), Holiday Songs ranks the most popular seasonal songs, according to all-format audience impressions measured by Nielsen BDS, sales data compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and streaming activity data from online music sources tracked by BDS.
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Mariah Carey’s 1994 classic “All I Want for Christmas Is You” tops the inaugural chart this season. (The carol led the list for four of the five weeks in which the tally was tabulated a year ago.) “Christmas” logged 20 million in radio audience in the current chart’s tracking week, ranking at No. 6 on the Holiday Airplay ranking. It rules the Holiday Digital Songs chart with 27,000 downloads sold (up 112%).
While the overall chart points for “Christmas” leave it shy of the Hot 100’s top 50 this week, should the song accrue enough points in upcoming weeks to rank in the Hot 100’s upper half, it, or any holiday title regardless of age that reaches such a points level, would be eligible to rank on the Hot 100. Hot 100 rules were adjusted at the beginning of the 2012 chart year to include all titles regardless of age should they rank in the top 50; tracks by Whitney Houston benefitted from the adjustment following her February passing, with, most noticeably, her 1992-93 Hot 100 No. 1 “I Will Always Love You” returning and soaring to No. 3 in March.
Given their many years of serving as soundtracks to holiday cheer, several decades-old favorites populate the latest Holiday Songs top 10. Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” decorates the list at No. 2, followed by Nat King Cole’s “The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas to You)” (No. 3), Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” (No. 4) and Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” (No. 5). Ives’ chestnut tops Holiday Airplay with 23 million in listenership.
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Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s relatively newer “Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12/24),” released in 1996, places at No. 6 on Holiday Songs, trailed by Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (No. 7), Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” (No. 8), Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” (No. 9) and Wham!’s “Last Christmas” (No. 10).
A sprinkling of songs released in the 2000s appear on Holiday Songs, led by Michael Buble’s “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” at No. 11.
Holiday Songs, along with all charts, will update each Thursday on Billboard.com throughout the holiday season. See the full chart here.